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Monday, December 07, 2015

Sleeping under Lion's head

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Yes, I really did it; I slept under a lion's head! Not just for one night, but several nights! And I can bet you, it was some of the best sleep I've had in a long time! 

Is she crazy, what normal person would pull such a stunt, I can imagine some of you thinking. Maybe she wants to commit suicide, others might say.
 Relax, everyone! Since I don't have the desire to join my ancestors in a long time, I would not do such a mad thing.

Actually, the lion under whose head, I've snoozed for some days is of the inanimate variety, not the growling type in the jungle or zoo. It's a natural, stone structure shaped like a lion's head, much like the Sphinx in Egypt. It's one of the popular landmarks and natural wonders of Cape Town, South Africa. The other is Table Mountain, which looks like a table with its totally flat top.

Right now, I'm in Cape Town for the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health as a health reporter (I cover the health beat for The Nation newspaper where I work as a journalist, 
by the way) and the hotel where I'm staying at Sea point (a suburb of the town) is directly under The Lion's head. It looms over the area like a sentinel, dark, brooding, ageless, as old as time.

It overlooks my bedroom window so it's the first thing I see in the morning when I wake up and I can look at it lying on my bed. So, though a few feet away from my bed, the impression I have is that I'm sleeping directly under The Lion's head!

Cape Town lived up to its repute as a 'slice of Europe in Africa'. Infact, sometimes, you get confused whether you are in Europe or on the African continent. From the population (overwhelmingly Caucasian or 'oyibo' as we say in Nigeria), to the weather (cold, temperate, not hot and tropical) to the ambience of the place, you get the feeling you are in a European city.

'Cape Town is the most beautiful city in South Africa," enthused Ade, a friend and colleague who works with AFP, a news agency. Ade is based in Nigeria but a few years back, he was posted to South Africa as the country's correspondent operating from Johannesburg. 
 "I travelled to Cape Town a couple of times and I loved it," he said.
I'm loving it here as well. I've had a tight schedule with the programme I came for so have not really had time to take a tour of the city. But from the little I've seen so far, I think it's my kind of place. It's cool, calm, quiet, organised

"You should take time to catch some fun while here. It should not be just work alone," admonished Aubrey, a taxi driver who took me from the Conference Centre to my hotel one day when I confessed to him that I had not gone round the city that much because of my schedule.

 At the waterfront
 Yesterday, (Saturday), I had some free time, so I took up on his offer and did some sightseeing. I went to the Victoria and Alfred waterfront, a popular place among locals and tourists alike. Luckily, the day was very hot with a typical African sun blasting down on the city.

"It's summer time, so the days are warmer. Winters are usually very cold," stated Jean Pierre, a local resident originally from Democratic Republic of Congo.
 I'm glad I came during the summer as I can't stand too much cold, especially coming from a country like Nigeria that is relatively warm for most of the year apart from the rainy season.

Fun seekers took advantage of the weather and really hit the waterfront, which overlooks the Atlantic ocean in large numbers, either swimming in the pools by the ocean front, picnicking or just taking in the lovely sight (like yours truly). Will post some pictures I took later.

 It was a lovely day to be outdoors and it was fun and relaxing. In fact, Cape Town is a fun place to be for the holiday maker who likes a cool place to unwind from the stress of work and other commitments. You will need lots of money, though as things are quite expensive here.

I hope to return some day, but this time, for vacation rather than work. Then, I'll be able to take in more of this beautiful city nestled under the the Table Mountain, the Lion's Head and other hills on the very tip of beautiful Africa. Who knows, I might 'sleep' under the Lion's head again as I've really enjoyed my stay in the Villa Sunshine Guest House with such wonderful staff like Julia, Michael and Nadya taking such good care of me, seeing to all my needs...

Article by Patience Saduwa, Blog Author

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